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Hibernation Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Hibernation AleHibernation Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

2,208 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,208
Reviews: 1,064
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.17%
Wants: 97
Gots: 117 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Old Ale |  8.70% ABV

Availability: Winter

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 11-26-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,208 | Reviews: 1,064 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Mdog


3.78/5  rDev -6.2%

Appearance: Deep red, thick head, and lots of lacing.

Smell: Smells like a doppelbock, caramel, brown sugar, alcohol.

Taste: Bready, surprisingly spicy, sweet, finishes with a coffee bitterness.

Mouthfeel: Not too thick.

Drinkability: Pretty good, but not a beer you should have more than one or two at in a sitting.

Pulled this out of my "cellar" to give it a taste at 6 months. A very solid beer from a good brewery.

07-15-2006 15:16:30 | More by Mdog
Photo of znarf


4.2/5  rDev +4.2%

This is one of the first of the strong seasonal ale that I found at my local specialty store. Being seasonal has an advantage since you will never get tired of it before it goes away for another year.

This brew pours medium to dark in color. The alcohol content is very apparent. The flavor is full bodied with a nice balance of hop and malts. Never a disappointment and a wonderful winter brew for those cold northern winter nights.

06-22-2006 03:13:44 | More by znarf
Photo of maek228


3.73/5  rDev -7.4%

I was expecting a strong ale when I poured this beer. After I poured it, I had to say I was extremely satisfied with what I saw. This beer looked liek a strong ale. It had a thick fluffy head atop a burnt amber body. Much to my liking, the head clung hard to glass. This gave a nice spiderweb visual to the glass.

The ale smells kinda average...some malt and hops, but nothing distinct. The taste is much like an old school ale. No frills, just thick malts and bitter hops. Some people may be put off by the simplicity, but not me. When I get an American Strong Ale I'm expecting just that and nothing more. This beer offers that.

The mouthfeel is a bit thin but the drinkability is quite good, almost too good.

06-20-2006 01:42:36 | More by maek228
Photo of doubleipa


4.22/5  rDev +4.7%

This has been in the cellar for six months. Aroma is toasted with some mild coffee, raisin and port. Head was creamy that completely vanished in 15 seconds. Hazy brown. Medium to full body. Not as much of an alcohol taste as 6 months ago. Upon further inspection, this was not bottled in Dec '05 BUT IN Dec '04. So it took 1.5 years for this to show some improvement. This should be even better in another 6 months.
Had another one of these last night (10/26/06). Now has distinctive oak flavor and aroma. Was very surprised. This is now much better than when it was fresh.

06-19-2006 19:17:55 | More by doubleipa
Photo of Sammy

Ontario (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev -1.2%

Tasty, well-spiced unique winter warmer. Without an x-mas and iverally snowy picture on the front. Body is a bit light, and a nice toastiness, all making it more drinkable. Carmel, nicely moderatley hopped. Must have again. This is 2005. Alcohol hammers by the finish.

05-14-2006 04:21:35 | More by Sammy
Photo of mmmbeer


4.4/5  rDev +9.2%

12 oz. bottle with no freshness date. It pours an unfiltered dark maroon/brown that looks blood-red when held to the light. There's some sediment at the bottom and it builds a half-inch khaki head that sticks fairly well and retains a collar throughout, leaving some lacing. The aroma is big on roasted/chocolate malts, and there's a hefty dose of citric (orange?) hops to balance. Near the end I find notes of pear, black cherry, and some other kinda berry. The flavor is very much the same, with chocolate, roasted, nutty, and caramel malts predominating, but the hops lend a medium bitterness and green/citric/minty/piney qualities, and there are hints of dark fruits. It has a medium to thick body that is very smooth and creamy, and doesn't let you know how strong the beer is. Overall this is a very well made beer that is complex, yet quite drinkable. I gotta get more than a single bottle next time to see what the cellar will do to it.

04-13-2006 20:17:12 | More by mmmbeer
Photo of Litterbean

New York

4.2/5  rDev +4.2%

Dark brown, minimal head. Looks nice.

Strong smell. Mix of coffee, citrus, pine. A bit of alcohol.

Taste starts off with the coffee mentioned above. Roasted malts and a bitterness from that. The hops impart a grapefruit-like taste, with earthy undertones. Smooth, creamy finish, with a great aftertaste that lingers.

I'm all about this brew. Damn tasty, well balanced, but very bold. Alcohol is hidden well, and that makes for a supremely enjoyable beer.

04-10-2006 01:43:43 | More by Litterbean


4.38/5  rDev +8.7%

2005 Vintage

A - 1/2" tan head. Dark brown tea color with some red tint. Head falls to a cap in less than a minute. Some lace.

S - Chocolate. Earthy malt. Underlying hop presence with a subtle tang. Alcohol. Some fruit.

T - Rich malt. Chocolate dominates the flavor. Earthy and nutty. Light roasted malt. Hint of caramel. Hops are muted in the initial flavor but shine through in the finish. It is a long finish.

M - Full, creamy mouthfeel. Rich and chewy. Slick. Mid-level carbonation.

D - Superb drinkability. Great nightcap.

04-10-2006 01:01:57 | More by MUSHROOMCLOUD
Photo of Enola

North Carolina

3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

This beer was served in a Chimay chalice. It was a color that reminded me of red wine. There was little head. The smell was fruity with some hop notes. The taste was very hoppy and semi-sweet. There was an alcohol presence in the mouthfeel. You know you are drinking a big beer. The drinkability is good on this beer, just take it easy. I could session this beer only if the session was real short.

04-09-2006 16:55:43 | More by Enola
Photo of ski271


4.3/5  rDev +6.7%

Pours a slightly hazy, deep reddish-copper with a small, off-white, creamy head that quickly diminishes to a thin film. Good lacing. The smell is... wow... sweet like candy. In fact, it actually smells kind of lot like a tootsie roll, I kid you not. Malts and alcohol esters duke it out for top billing with a light hops presence in one corner, but malts are kicking arse with the sweetness in their corner. The sweetness is almost a little too much... almost. The flavor is almost as malt dominant as the nose suggests, with flavors of chocolate, dark bread and toffee. The hops come out nicely on the finish adding a light bitterness and balance. It has a full body, syrupy texture, and moderate carbonation. This is one hell of a desert beer, and if that’s what you’re looking for, this one is nicely done. Not very sessionable if that’s what you’re going for, but then again, it’s a barleywine, so if you’re looking for a sessionable barleywine, that’s kind a of contradiction right there.

03-19-2006 21:58:32 | More by ski271
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

4.47/5  rDev +10.9%

2004 Bottling

Appearance: Pours a hazy tea brown color with a modest head that declines to a ringlet without leaving much lacing behind

Smell: A nice range of aromas from dark fruit to bittersweet chocolate to resinous pine

Taste: Starts out with a nice dark fruit profile that lingers for quite a while before being joined by a burst of bitterness; mid-palate, some graininess kicks in, along with a bright almost minty-hop finish

Mouthfeel: Nice and chewy with a healthy level of carbonation

Drinkability: Very complex and enjoyable - now this is what a Winter Warmer should be

A revisit of a fresh 2010 bottling in 12/10 shows much of the same, although the younger beer was much better looking, with a clear color and loads of lacing

03-15-2006 01:51:01 | More by brentk56
Photo of wedge

North Carolina

4.4/5  rDev +9.2%

Deep crimson, nearly opaque with a breifly thick tan head that becomes a bubbly topping. Malty sweet, nutty aroma with light chocolate and an underlying earthy hoppiness. Taste is sweet upfront, chocolate mousse with nuts followed by a tasty rush of woody/earthy hops. Addictive flavor. Very fluffy yet full mouthfeel...chewy and warm with a long dry finish.

A deliciously well-balanced strong ale. This could be the only reason I look forward to next November.

03-13-2006 01:27:12 | More by wedge
Photo of ggaughan


4/5  rDev -0.7%

I bought this bottle in early 2005 or late 2004 and it has been sitting in my cellar aging away until this weekend. The beer poured a nice deep brown, almost black color with no light getting through. There was a medium tan head with big bubbles and good lacing. The aroma was a good mix of hops and definite chocolate and coffee notes. The taste was of bold coffee and chocolate and for a non-coffee drinker, this was a very enjoyable beer. The coffee taste is not overpowering and mixes well with the other tastes. Although the abv is over 8%, I find this beer bery drinkable but a bit heavy so I would not find myself drinking more than a few on any given night.

03-06-2006 01:32:52 | More by ggaughan
Photo of scruffwhor


4.2/5  rDev +4.2%

This twelve ounce botlle was bottled in 2005.

Appearance- Pours a pretty beige, two-finger head with good retention and film formage. No visible lacing. Colro is a deep blood red mixed with potato skin.

Smell- An odd mix of bright hops, chocolate, and coffee grounds.

Taste- This was an odd yet delightful mix indeed. Starts out as medium strength hop bitterness, but is quickly replaced with the flavor of strong dark coffee mixed with a splash of chocolate syrup. The finish is a bittersweet mix of hops and leather. WOW..

Mouthfeel- This beer relaxed my palate. The strong hops had some comforting help with the coffee. A great nightcap beer. Wouldn't want to share with food.

02-28-2006 05:11:31 | More by scruffwhor
Photo of Backer2004

North Carolina

4.28/5  rDev +6.2%

This was definitely the best beer I tried last noight. Man, it's strong but not overpowing with alcohol smell or taste. Great balance of yummy malts and hops, nice dark bronze and little head. Notes of fruit and caramel. At 8.8%, it is definitely not a session beer but easy enough to finish. Worth a go around, againa and again.

02-26-2006 21:06:39 | More by Backer2004
Photo of BrewMan13

New York

4.2/5  rDev +4.2%

I was very pleased when I came upon this in my neck of the woods and promptly picked up a 6er. So far is this is one of my preferred winter warmers/strong ales that I've had this winter, and thankfully its not a glorified (or regular) amber ale like so many others.
Appearance is a dark but clear mahogony. A moderate head (~1 finger) forms and slowly dissipates, but leaves a fair amount of lacing behind. Smell is hard to decipher anythign specific (at least for me).
Taste is predominantly malty with hints of cocoa powder, caramel, and roastiness but nothing that dominates. The hops take over in the finish and provide a very dry, slightly bitter finish that lasts and lasts; feels like it coats the tongue.
For being robust, I find its not overly heavy. I'd say slightly higher then medium.
While "balanced" is a matter of opinion, I find this to be incredibly balanced. Not sweet and not bitter. Maybe it leans a little towards the malt, but only slightly.
Tired of the spiced ales (I like em, but not everyone does) or amber ales masquerading as winter warmers? Then snag some of this, you'll be glad you did. Robust like a ww should be, but its not gonna knock you out in 1 glass.

02-25-2006 19:19:51 | More by BrewMan13
Photo of tastybeer

North Carolina

4.03/5  rDev 0%

Cherry/mahogany wood in color, clear and glowing. Head is huge tan. Turns into a nice layer wth thick lacing. Aroma is sweet. Caramel apples, buttery malts, toffee and thick cream comes to mind. This beer does a nice job welcoming the season. Smell matches the taste very nicely. In addition to the things above you get a little hoppiness at the end that meshes seemlessly with the other flavors. Very relaxing brew. Drink it only slightly above room temp.

This helps make NE winter not so crappy.

If this beer could talk it'd say, "Have a happy winter."

02-20-2006 23:57:38 | More by tastybeer
Photo of JudgeRoughneck


3.23/5  rDev -19.9%

NOTE- This is two reviews, one with fresh beer and one with 2-year-old bottle. Score is for fresh bottle.
2006- Fresh...This a reddish plum colored barleywine with a minimal tan head. It leaves no lacing in my globe glass. The nose is a delicious mix of yeast, alcohol, and Chips Ahoy chocolate chip cookies.

The taste starts deceptively smooth for a barelywine. The base is a rich, thick, caramel. As it sits in my mouth I taste citrusy hops, light brown sugar, clove, nut, cherry ester. The end is where the catch comes. The alcohol comes out of hiding and attacks viciously with strong vapors wafting into the nose. This, combined with that slight estery cherry I mentioned, land this brew in my "tastes like medecine" file. I like barleywine, but a few of them have this medicinal quality I just can't get past, and this is one.

The mouthfeel is very interesting with a surge of carbonation that doesn't seem to be released until the beer has rested in the mouth a moment or two.

Though this is a well-built barleywine, its just not my style, and anyone who can take more than one has my respect.

NOTE- 2006 vintage, tasted March '08
A- 3 fingers of espresso cream head die to a thin layer and leave an arched lace. Impressive show of carbonation for an aged beer. Beer is clear, and a deep, dark, lovely rosewood color.
S- raisins, brown sugar, pepper, plum, luscious fruit bouquet,rich malt aroma, faint earthy hop, amazing nose here, except I get not even a whiff of alcohol.
T- Beer is overall, suprisingly lite on the palate. Does not have the overwhelming malt of many high gravity beers, nor the alcohol burn. What I get here is a firm, fully attenuated crystal malt base with some depth but very little residual sweetness. It is simple, you can tell it had a terse grainbill. Some very soft fruit esters,maybe a cherry note, and a peppery Belgian-esque quality from the yeast/ alcohol. Earthy hop flavor comes out a little in the finish and the beer shows a perfectly balanced bitterness.
M- While the alcohol escapes being hot at any point, it makes itself very known in the finish through an odd numbing sensation, and soft but abundant vapors. Nice soft, low carbonation helps fill out the light mouthfeel. This is one of the lightest high gravity beers I've ever had.

This is an elegant and balanced beer, but it bores me a little. It lacks big, bold, flavors but is a little too rough around the edges to pull off "refined", which I'm afraid relegates it to the realm of the mediocre, despite the obvious skill of its brewer.

Interesting to note that I recall this beer as being a drainpour when fresh. After consulting my previous review, which sadly, is about to be deleted, I can say this beer mellowed and changed significantly in aging. It has obviously benefitted a great deal from a few years in the bottle. I would like to taste a 4 or 5 year old bottle, to see if things finally come together.

02-20-2006 05:02:55 | More by JudgeRoughneck
Photo of santoslhalper


3.65/5  rDev -9.4%

Appearence: A clear, dark brown with a thin, quickly dissapearing browiish head.

Smell: Caramel, chocolate and loads of other sweet/roasted malt notes with a nice hop and alcohol twang.

Taste and Mouthfeel: A solid malt flavor with bittersweet hints of chocolate and coffee, with caramel abounding everywhere. Nicely balanced, with a good alcoholic bite. The only thing that's killing me is the mouthfeel. Too thin, and too carbonated.

Drinkability and Overall: Another good brew from Great Divide, but not one of their best. The mouthfeel is killing all the fun of drinking this for me. Oh well, at least worth a try.

02-20-2006 04:36:23 | More by santoslhalper
Photo of sinistermadman


4.22/5  rDev +4.7%

Pours a ruby hued brown color with minimal foam.

Smell is of brown sugar, toffee, chocolate and fermented fruit.

This brew is ultimately very rich while at the same time quite smooth. Interesting hop presence that is surprisingly well balanced with the toasty malts. A myriad of chocolate and fruity malts are evident. Mouthfeel is sticky and resinous, but not too overbearing. In short an aggressive well crafted brew that is not for the meek. Cheers

02-18-2006 02:01:54 | More by sinistermadman
Photo of orfeu

New Mexico

4.1/5  rDev +1.7%

12 oz. 2005 vintage poured into an oversized wine goblet. Glassy mahogany with garnet highlights and a creamy but reclusive beige head. Fruity caramel liquer aroma, like date sugared apples doused in Frangelico but not as nutty. First sip is not as sweet as expected; earthy hops right up front. Sweet almond and black walnut creaminess on the follow-through. Tongue-numbing alcohol buzz -- not surprising at 8.1%. Slick mouthfeel, medium body. It just occurred to me that this would pair quite nicely with a robust Cuban cigar -- it's not so spicy with hops that it would wreck your tongue and not so sweet that the cigar would taste gross. There's an almost smoky nuttiness to this beer that is unlike anything I've tasted before. So there's that if you want to try this one fresh. 10 months in the cellar would mellow this out, probably, and turn it into more of a solitary sipper. When I finish my Ph.D. and start looking for jobs, I'll pay particular attention to openings in Colorado. Great Divide Brewing Co. plays more than a small role in this inclination.

02-15-2006 03:59:46 | More by orfeu
Photo of RedwoodGeorge


4.08/5  rDev +1.2%

....mmm good stuff - almost good enough to make you wish winter lasted even longer (I said almost!)

Pours a deep mahogany brown - far from stout black but a very solid dark brown color. The two finger head was a muddy tan and lasted for quite some time leaving lots of lacing on the glass.

The nose was surprisingly malty with a sweet caramel note predominating. Some hoppiness comes through but just a tad of herbal scents.

Flavor is quite strong - no surprise when I looked up the style... Big sweet malt notes, lots of caramel and treacle in this one. Bitter coffee or dark chocolate flavors are quite dominant on the back end and just a bit of English style hops on the back end - enough to give it an herbal note. No alcohol burn to be found here at all though I'm guessing the alcohol adds a bit of sweetness.

Mouthfeel is very good - medium bodied, slightly oily (no surprise with all the sugars left in the beer) but enough carbonation and bittering (both hops and toasted grain) to clean up the end of each sip.

Very good stuff - yet another winter warmer ('strong ale') to look forward to. Yet another well crafted beer from Great Divide. [Thanks to warriorsoul for this tasty treat]

02-14-2006 05:52:22 | More by RedwoodGeorge
Photo of murrayswine


4.1/5  rDev +1.7%

this beer was Recieved from Wolfsdenbrew in UTBIF
Pours a ruddy ruby/rust color with a nice display of head, thick with lacy sides. The smell is huge and rich with malty toffee, subtle mocha, earth, and robust hops to boot, this smell like a hell of a beer.
The taste is a bit acrid and I wonder if it's because the beer is Ice cold. Me thinks this beer would taste a lot more bodied and less Hopfensive if it were a bit warmer, but none-the-les, a developed ber with strong malts, masked alcohol and a ripping hop sense. Surprisingly easy mouthfeel lets it go down easy.
Dont turn it down.

02-12-2006 07:19:20 | More by murrayswine
Photo of grub

Ontario (Canada)

4.18/5  rDev +3.7%

pours a deep copper red colour, with almost no head. the slight rim of bubbles leaves a fine lace down the glass.

aroma is rich and malty, with a deep roasty smell and just a hint of sweetness.

taste is somewhat bitter with a nice roasty/smokey taste. bittersweet chocolate. maybe a bit of almond.

body is fairly beefy. i've only had 1/3 of the bottle and i'm already feeling full. the roastyness hides the alcohol well, and the slight sweetness i could smell is nowhere in the taste.

overall quite tasty, but i don't think you'd want to drink several as it's a bit heavy to me. it also felt like more than 8.1%, which could also be a problem for drinking more than one.

02-12-2006 01:34:41 | More by grub
Photo of Oxymoron


3.75/5  rDev -6.9%

Don't fall asleep on me yet. Hibernation pours a mahogany colored brown with definite red tinge to the color. A limited head that remained around the edges and decent lacing.

The aroma is light overall but noticeable malt and traces of earthy and herbal hop tones.

The taste is much more noticeable. A good malty amber taste with a touch of roasted and maybe a touch of chocolate added in the mix. Some limited spices, more of a bready zest, with some cloves and nutmeg. A touch of nutty or woody flavors too. Good bitterness having a more rounded earthy flavor.
The flavor finishes smooth and creamy.

Good body and frothy texture overall. A good flavor and finishes warm but so easy to drink. I guess you can go to sleep now, just dont spill your beer.

02-09-2006 04:49:27 | More by Oxymoron
Hibernation Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 2,208 ratings.